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Archive for the ‘design’ Category

I am shooting this week with a long standing client of mine who has just gone through a huge rebranding effort and is really on the fashion radar these days. Michelle Obama has been spotted wearing several of their looks on the campaign trail recently as she tries to make headway for the democrats for this mid term election season. I decided to ask several people at the shoot about what is influencing them stylistically lately. What they have been looking at that is visually inspiring them, what trends are interesting, and what they feel is informing their personal style. Here is what they had to say….
Tony Foote, a freelance art director and designer, most recently at
Calvin Klein feels that the Eco movement is developing stylistically especially in the home sector with companies like Flor and the forward architectural trend that is happening around sustainable
design. As far as personal style, Tony describes himself as a devotee to american modernism, clean, sporty, minimal. This aesthetic direction reveals itself in both fashion and home.

Elizabeth Serwin, a freelance stylist based in New York City, is inspired by floral prints and patterns as of late. The mix of geometrics with floral, a Versailles meets the Bradys combination is both modern eclecticism and vintage remastered. Elizabeth is a fan of Vanessa Beecrofts recent work, spattered paint, as in the 1960s pop culture tradition, and French country. she describes her personal style as “casual, sporty, classic with a twist”.

Sharon Monteforte is a fashion editor at Talbots and is part of the rebrand of that classic american apparel company. She is crazy about the “Mad Men aesthetic” and how the understated sensuality of that era translates to a lost glamour that is both sophisticated and now feels modern. With Louis Vuitton’s recent campaign featuring the fitted waisted, full skirted, proper ladies wearing their gloves and exposing an ankle and a little cleavage, the 50’s/60″s influence is making people want to get “dressed” again. Sharon has also been loving the circular bookcase by David Garcia’s archive series.
Sang An, a photographer who divides his time between NYC and Sanfrancisco, and who’s work can be seen on this months cover of Martha Stewarts Living, as well as many other editorial and advertising campaigns, describes his personal style as truly modern ecclecticism. He works with a foundation of minimalism mixed with vintage Japanese textiles and both modern and vintage African textiles. the combination of old and new, clean lines with an infusion of texture generates and develops a rich and visually interesting aesthetic.

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I am shooting in Zacatecas Mexico and we had the pleasure of shooting in this amazing old hacienda over easter.

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Mary Cooper is an extraordinary colorist. I was shooting her house in the late spring in New Orleans. She lives in this turn of the century bargeboard house that sits at the edge of the devastation of the 9th ward. Her street is dotted with the x marked abandoned homes ravaged by Katrina. Her place is fabulous! Humble architecturally, crude craftmanship in places have been transformed into modern, chic ecclectisism. Her stylistic perspective resides somewhere between shaker, early colonial americana, traditional japanese and organic modern.  The mix of found objects, the limited resources have culminated into a space that is warm yet mercilessly edited. The almost monastic and austere decor is completely juxtaposed with interesting , suprising and unlikely color combinations. The paint finishes are flat and harmonious with a twist. warm pumpkin and ochre  with an infusion of tuquoise lifts the palette in a way that only a real sophisicated eye could know. Her choices are considered and true to her overall vision.

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Mr. Fabulous! Was just contracted to do the interior of the White House! This of course is the project of a lifetime!!! Take a look at some of Mr. Smith’s interiors.2009-01-13-gasl_michael_smith_daras_022009-01-13-gasl_michael_smith_daras_032009-01-13-gasl_michael_smith_daras_042009-01-13-gasl_michael_smith_daras_09

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entryview2living12I have a wonderful friend , Johnny Machado who is a style maven, man about town, and total fabulouso! Last year he took on the project of turning a 400 square foot apt. in Manhattan into a stylish, chic, little jewel of a space. His trick, keep all surfaces shiny and reflective, with the exception of his upholstered pieces, and WHITE , WHITE, WHITE!!! Look for yourself.

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As everyone is experiencing the uneasiness of current events, the hope that is out there on the horizon is like a beacon for us to focus on. It is almost impossible to not have some anxiety about what is happening in our economy, even if the impact has not yet been directly felt. The whole world is trying to spend less, re-think it’s priorities and make use of what already exists. New projects are being postponed or pared down––that new addition or luxury kitchen has now given way to the cosmetic renovation which could be simply a repainting of the cabinets in many cases. Many things have been the mother of invention, and a big one right now is having little or no money for a renovation budget. It is time for everyone to roll up there sleeves and get creative.

The good news is that times like these challenge our creativity, which is how we grow. A few weeks ago I wrote about being mindful visually: well this is an expansion on that concept. First of all, everything that before might have been thought of as used, or junk, or old is now green. The new terminology is reclaimed, recycled and sustainable. It is not only vitally important to the health of our World, it can also fashionable, so go through your stuff and make a list!

I like to make lists–so in this case I would make a list with three catagories: 1) what to keep, 2) what can be refurbished and 3) what to get rid of. I talk about taking an inventory in my upcoming book, and the importance of knowing exactly what you have to work with––for example, that tired old lamp you have might be great with just a new shade, and the coffee table you’ve had for years, and are so used to looking at, has great lines, so a new paint job or refinish would update it and give it a whole new lease on life.  Look at your rooms, your desks, your wardrobes and see what you can create from what you already own. I guaranty we all have more to work with than we realize! An example of this is a woman who took all of her family’s old stained and worn cashmere and wool sweaters then cut them up into squares and sewed them together in a quilt like manner. She wound up making the most beautiful and interesting throws and blankets imaginable out of the ruined clothing. It was so successful that she expanded the line by rummaging through goodwill bins and now makes bags as well. The point is is that times like these call for the ingenuity that we are known for, so reclaim, recycle, and create! My dear friend Jocelyn Mason, who designs and creates the most beautiful bags using reclaimed leather, has a saying “if you can’t get out of it, get into it!” Which pretty well sums up where we all are in these trying economic times. So buck up, take stock and get creative.

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005Featuring a large painting over the fireplace by Christine. Simple textures and hues make up this room.

004

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I was once asked to describe “New England Style” to a person from the Midwest. I got to thinking about all the influences that create that very distinctive North Eastern architectural and interior design style, and being rooted in history is obviously what first comes to mind. Colonial, and then later Shaker influences shape the foundation of New England Style. A minimalism, or an austerity was born from the idea that form follows function, however form was to be derived from the English architectural ideals of proportion and scale. The other component is superior craftsmanship. Historically, New England’s seaport towns were home to the finest boat builders in the world. Skilled craftsmen abounded and this was seen in everything from sea captain’s homes to fine furniture and cabinetry. As the modern world has demanded a more comfortable lifestyle, the strictness and severity of a historical New England style has softened, and a warmer more inviting way of living has been incorporated into classic design. What has not changed however is an appreciation for superior craftsmanship. The premier cabinetmakers, custom furniture makers and builders in the country still hail from New England, and there is a standard of quality that is very rarely seen anywhere else.

dining

dining

custom furniture using reclaimed lumber

custom furniture using reclaimed lumber

solid cherry, custom shaker style bed
solid cherry custom shaker style bed

NewEngland stained glass artisan
New England stained glass artisan

solid cherry custom kitchen cabinetry with local NewEngand hewn granite.

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One of the things that this campaign season has done for many us, is it has gotten us to pay attention to what we think and what we believe in. No matter what side of the fence you are on, I’ll bet you have tuned into your value system in the recent months with a more self-examining eye. Being mindful about what we are choosing as consumers has never been more important certainly, and we are challenged daily to find value in all of our goods and services. Gone are the days of oblivious frivolity! Even if you have the means, it is totally passé.  What is “HAPPENING” now is to be clear and focused and articulate about what we want our lives to be and that means cleaning out what is no longer working, and replacing it with precise, effective and innovative solutions. This way of thinking completely applies to everything in our lives, from how we vote to how we decorate. Being mindful visually will helps us discern, not only what we like but what is important to us.

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back to italy

 

entrance to a garden

entrance to a garden

inside courtyard

inside courtyard

simplicity

simplicity

garden on the ceiling

garden on the ceiling

bathroom
bathroom
bathroom

bathroom

view of a courtyard

view of a courtyard

I have been fortunate enough this year to have traveled to the Italian countryside twice with one of my favorite clients. When you are on location with a local production company in the region that you are shooting in, you very often have access to places that tourists and quite frankly some locals never get to see. This was the case when we got to shoot at a Popes summer residence in Frascati. Frascati, known as an affluent weekend retreat for nobles and wealthy Romans, is about 45 min. outside of Rome. The quaint little square is flanked by gorgeous palazzos’s. At the very center of the village, at the top of the hill is the summer residence of the Pope. It has been a Popes residence since 1680 and is maintained by the Borghese family. 

 

There were Carravagios, Bernini’s and Botticelli paintings hanging on the walls. The gardens were overgrown and exquisite, with pots full of ivy and flowers. There is this amazing quality when things, and gardens and architecture get old and patina sets in. We are so often trying to achieve that look of decaying oppulence.It is so elusive visually. One of the things that was apparent was that there was rich, deep, vibrant color that had mellowed and faded. The sense that there was a monochromatic color palette was an illusion. Infact the unification of the palette came solely from aging, and like a good wine, or soup the blend is perfect. Italian style, which is a style that is so complex has always facinated me. Even in the most ornate and decorative examples of architecture and art, there is a simplicity in form and underlying structure. It truly is classicism at its finest. Square rooms, center doorways with symetrically placed windows, usually dressed with paneled shutters are what you find in classic Italianate design. Even in gardens, there are center entrances, and a uniformity in the arrangement of pots and benches. And a symetry in the planting of trees and flowers as well . 

this wallpaper is from 1800, and it is tooled leather

this wallpaper is from 1800, and it is tooled leather

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